Tag Archives: Alzheimer’s disease

Coffee Causes Cancer…No!

coffee

Around one in 10 British adults mistakenly think coffee causes cancer,so says a survey carried out by the World Cancer Research Fund (see here). Nothing can be  further from the truth – repeat, drinking coffee does not cause cancer. In fact, the benefits of coffee have been largely understated. Among the benefits include:

1. It contains powerful anti-oxidants, like chlorogenic acid and melanoidins (especially in roasted coffee beans), both of which confer proven health benefits.

2.Reducing the incidence of Parkinson’s Disease and Alzheimer’s. Read “A Cup of Coffee a Day will Keep Alzheimer’s Away”.

3.Protecting against diabetes. Moderate consumption  may lower the risk of type 2 diabetes in younger and middle aged women.

4.Preventing liver disease and the formation of liver and kidney stones.

5. Promoting alertness, attentiveness, and wakefulness.

But its not all good and no bad. Drinking excessive amounts (more than four cups a day) has been shown to accelerate osteoporosis as well as increase blood pressure, palpitations and even increase the risk of hardening of the arteries (a process called atherosclerosis). In some, coffee can cause heartburn, or GERD(gastro -esophageal reflux disease).

An important point to note is that there seems to be a health hazard in drinking unfiltered coffee (as in Turkish coffee and kahawa) as it raises blood cholesterol. Filtered coffee, as in instant coffee, does not do so, as diterpenes, responsible for raising cholesterol, are removed by filtration.

What about heart disease? The verdict’s not in just yet..on one hand, diterpenes cause a rise in cholesterol and homocysteine but this seems balanced by the beneficial anti-oxidant properties. As of now, there is no convincing evidence that coffee leads to heart disease.

latte

Latte, a combination of coffee,steamed milk and sugar) can set you back by 260 calories per cup.

Bear in mind that this discussion is based on just pure plain coffee. The scenario changes quite a bit with additives like milk, cream and sugar. For one thing, a cup of latte at Starbucks can contribute about 260 calories (as opposed to 0 calories in plain coffee). This is not to mention the health risks of added fats (and cholesterol) and sugar.

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So, Is Coffee OK, Doc?

Some patients asked recently whether coffee was good for one’s health. They had apparently noticed that there has been the shift in marketing strategy by coffee-makers  in promoting it as a rich source of anti-oxidants, and therefore beneficial to health.

coffeePour

 

YES,  coffee is a rich source of anti-oxidants, like chlorogenic acid and melanoidins, the latter being the most important component of roasted coffee. Some of the other beneficial effect of drinking coffee include:

  1. Reducing the incidence of Parkinson’s Disease and Alzheimer’s. Read “A Cup of Coffee a Day will Keep Alzheimer’s Away”.
  2. Protecting against diabetes. Moderate consumption  may lower the risk of type 2 diabetes in younger and middle aged women.
  3. Preventing liver disease and the formation of liver and kidney stones.
  4. The beneficial effects of caffeine in coffee on alertness, attentiveness, and wakefulness.

NO,  among other things:

  1. Unfiltered coffee (as in Turkish coffee and kahawa) raises blood cholesterol. Filtered coffee, as in instant coffee, does not do so as diterpenes, responsible for raising cholesterol, are removed by filtration.
  2. Coffee consumption is also associated with an increase of plasma homocysteine, a risk factor for coronary heart disease.
  3. Caffeine in coffee can increase the risk of elevated blood pressure and hardening of the arteries, as well as palpitations.
  4. 4 cups or more will hasten osteoporosis, especially in those with low calcium intake in the diet.
  5. Coffee increases heartburn, aka gastro-eosophageal reflux disease (GERD).

What about heart disease? The verdict’s not in just yet..on one hand, diterpenes cause a rise in cholesterol and homocysteine but this seems balanced by the beneficial anti-oxidant properties. As of now, there is no convincing evidence that coffee leads to heart disease, period.

I ought to clarify here that we are talking about coffee, just plain coffee. The pendulum swings the other way when we consume coffee with additives, like milk and sugar. The latte at the local Starbucks will add on quite a substantial amount of fats, sugars and calories (260 to be precise, see here). Compare that to the ZERO calories of plain black coffee!

Have Viagra, Will Forget

There’s a joke making the rounds that the number of Alzheimer’s disease sufferers will soon outstrip older male patients with erectile dysfunction ..so much so, elderly people will be taking Viagra and not remembering what to do with the erection afterwards!

But jokes aside, WHO, in its recent news release (11 April 2012) revealed that dementia cases are set to triple by 2050 worldwide and that the problem is still largely ignored. There are 35 million people in the world with dementia and this number is set to double by 2030 and triple by 2050.

Caring for people with Dementia imposes a strain as well on caregivers

Dementia is a syndrome, usually of a chronic or progressive nature, caused by a variety of brain illnesses that affect memory, thinking, behaviour and ability to perform everyday activities. The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease, which afflicts people of any socio-economic status. Celebrities afflicted with this condition include Ronald Reagan, Rita Hayworth and Perry Como.

Former US President,Ronald Reagan, also had Alzheimers.

Treating and caring for people with dementia currently costs the world more than US$ 604 billion per year. This includes the cost of providing health and social care as well the reduction or loss of income of people with dementia and their caregivers. The important role of caregivers cannot be over-estimated because AD cannot be cured and is degenerative, so the sufferer increasingly relies on others for assistance. The role of the main caregiver is often taken by the spouse or a close relative, and is well-known to place a great burden on the care-givers.

Some facts about dementia:

  • Although dementia mainly affects older people, it is not a normal part of ageing.
  • 60% of people with dementia live in middle or low income countries.
  • Early diagnosis improves the quality of life of people with dementia and their caregivers.
  • Dementia is a public health priority which has long been ignored.

Cross-section of a brain belonging to an Alzheimers patient

The WHO report points to a general lack of information and understanding about dementia. This fuels stigma, which in turn contributes to the social isolation of both the person with dementia and their caregivers, and can lead to delays in seeking diagnosis, health assistance and social support. It also recommends involving existing caregivers in designing programmes to provide better support for people with dementia and those looking after them.

Public health authorities worldwide would do well to place more emphasis on undertaking programmes to raise the level of awareness of this disease as well as implementing programmes to strengthen care and support.

 

Coffee – Good or Bad?

Some patients asked recently whether coffee was good for one’s health. Part of the recent upsurge in interest in the health benefits of this beverage has been the shift in marketing strategy by coffee-makers locally in promoting it as a rich source of anti-oxidants.

coffeePourPlain Black Coffee – rich in antioxidants and with zero calories

 

Yes, coffee is a rich source of anti-oxidants, like chlorogenic acid and melanoidins, the latter being the most important component of roasted coffee. Some of the other beneficial effect of drinking coffee include:

  1. Reducing the incidence of Parkinson’s Disease and Alzheimer’s. Read “A Cup of Coffee a Day will Keep Alzheimer’s Away”.
  2. Protecting against diabetes. Moderate consumption  may lower the risk of type 2 diabetes in younger and middle aged women.
  3. Preventing liver disease and the formation of liver and kidney stones.
  4. The beneficial effects of caffeine in coffee on alertness, attentiveness, and wakefulness.

And the bad news? Among other things:

  1. Unfiltered coffee (as in Turkish coffee and kahawa) raises blood cholesterol. Filtered coffee, as in instant coffee, does not do so as diterpenes, responsible for raising cholesterol, are removed by filtration.
  2. Coffee consumption is also associated with an increase of plasma homocysteine, a risk factor for coronary heart disease.
  3. Caffeine in coffee can increase the risk of elevated blood pressure and hardening of the arteries, as well as palpitations.
  4. 4 cups or more will hasten osteoporosis, especially in those with low calcium intake in the diet.
  5. Coffee increases heartburn, aka gastro-eosophageal reflux disease (GERD).

What about heart disease? The verdict’s not in just yet..on one hand, diterpenes cause a rise in cholesterol and homocysteine but this seems balanced by the beneficial anti-oxidant properties.

I ought to clarify here that we are talking about coffee, just coffee. The pendulum swings the other way when we consume coffee with additives like milk and sugar. The latte at the local Starbucks will add on quite a substantial amount of fats, sugars and calories (260 to be precise, see here). Compare that to the ZERO calories of plain black coffee!

coffee_types

Gotten into a heated discussion recently about coffee preventing a proper sleep? Some people find that the mild stimulation of caffeine consumed even hours before bed time delays sleep, while others can consume a cup which will knock them out in no time! This paradox has never been fully explained even in medical circles..

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